The NYC Department of Buildings just released the “Elevator Report 2017”. Presented in a very fancy way on the DOB website with interactive map and historic references the report provides a good overview of the extent of the elevator inventory in the city but unfortunately provides too little information about elevator accidents in New York and Elevator safety.
In the report, we learn that the first elevator was installed 168 years ago in New York and that the elevator stock of the city represents 9% of the national stock. More than 84,000 devices are under the jurisdiction of the DOB and the Department performed more than 196,000 inspections in 2017. Building owners are required by law to have their elevator or elevators inspected twice a year. Additionally an in-depth inspection that includes load test has to be performed every five years. Tests reports have to be submitted to the DOB. Failure to submit these tests results will lead to penalties. When owners fail to proprely maintain their elevators and inspectors detect defects, owners are issued “failure to maintain” violations.
To find out about elevator dangers and issues the DOB relies mainly on citizen reports. Anyone in New York who discovers that an elevator in not working properly, is not inspected or has been installed without a permit can file a complaint with the DOB. New Yorkers are also invited to report dirty elevators or elevators with broken fixtures in residential buildings. The DOB also recommend anyone to call 911 if:
- someone is stuck in an elevator
- there is an open and unguarded open shaft
- an elevator is operating dangerously such as elevator moving before the doors are closed or door opening between floors
Lat year the DOB issued 4,816 violations for elevator-related complaints. Almost 7% of buildings with elevators in New York City had a violation issued however the interactive map doesn’t show where they are. The report also doesn’t mentioned the number of elevator accidents recorded in 2017 or how many injuries or death were suffered in elevator accidents in New York City.
Picture source: interactive elevator map NYC DOB